Trygve is used to being on his own. His wife rejected him when he became a draugr around the year 800, and he hasn’t trusted anyone but his best friend, Thorvald, since then. He lives and works alone, and he has no intentions on changing that.
Then he meets Isaac.
Isaac’s life has been rotten—he was kicked out by his parents when he was sixteen, he was kidnapped from the streets at twenty, and he spent the last eight years chained to a wall and being abused. So when a tall blond man, appears out of thin air and kills the man who’s been torturing Isaac for so long, he begs for death—or to be taken away.
Trygve knows he should dump Isaac in a hospital and go back to his solitary life, but Isaac needs help, and for some reason, he seems to trust Trygve, so Trygve lets him stay with him. Neither of them expects their unlikely friendship will become more, and they take things slowly, for both their sakes.
But someone is after Isaac, and Trygve knows he will do anything to protect the first person he’s loved in more than a thousand years.
Even if that means killing people he’s not being paid to kill.
Trygve’s computer pinged. He groaned, torn between not wanting to get up from the couch and curiosity about the new job he knew had just landed in his inbox. He’d just come back from one, so he’d hoped he’d be able to take a few days off, but it looked like Thor needed him. Tryg could always say no, but he and Thor went way back, and he didn’t like to leave his friend in need.
Tryg sighed and pushed the blanket he’d covered himself with away. It was always chilly in his caves. He was used to it, but he still used blankets to stay warm. He took the blanket with him to the desk where he’d left his laptop and draped it around his shoulders as he sat and moved his fingertip on the mouse pad. The laptop came to life, and Tryg entered the lengthy passwords he needed to access the computer, then the email account he used only to communicate with Thor.
He opened the email.
Thor’s words were fast and dry, no flowery shit or even a hello. There was a picture and some info on the guy the contract was on, and the usual question—yes or no?
Tryg leaned back in his chair and opened a browser. He quickly got onto the dark web and entered the guy’s name in the sites he used for this kind of research. Thor always provided basic information, but that wasn’t enough for Tryg. He might be a killer, but even he had some rules, and the main ones were no killing children or people who didn’t deserve it.
This guy definitely deserved it.
Martin Galveston was a fifty-four-year-old piece of garbage, and Tryg had seen a lot of those in his very long life. Martin wasn’t the worst one, but he was high on Tryg’s list. He dealt in drugs, human trafficking of both adults and children, prostitution, and weapons. Tryg wasn’t surprised to also find out he was abusive to his ex-wives and his daughters. Luckily, none of them lived with him right now. He’d been divorced four times and wasn’t currently married, thank the Gods. He lived alone if one didn’t consider the guards, but Tryg did. He’d have to go there a few times before fulfilling the contract to count the guards and learn the way they worked. They might be a problem if they were good at their jobs, but Tryg was better, and he had enough tricks up his sleeve to make sure he could do the job efficiently and quickly.
This was exactly the sort of job Tryg was good at and wanted to do. He emailed Thor back to accept. He knew Thor would email again with more details, so he got up and went to change. Comfortable sweats and a T-shirt with holes wasn’t the best thing to wear when he was working.
By the time he was back at his desk wearing black jeans and a long-sleeved black T-shirt, Thor had emailed back. There wasn’t much more info Tryg hadn’t found on his own, but he still went over everything.
The only person who might be in the house who wouldn’t be a guard was Galveston’s son, Dennis. Tryg suspected the man wasn’t much better than his father, but he didn’t look for him on the dark web. That would only make him want to kill Dennis, and it wasn’t what he’d been hired to do. He’d make sure to tell Thor to keep his name in mind if someone ever wanted to get rid of Dennis, though.
Tryg booked a flight for New York, where Martin Galveston lived, and went to pack. He wouldn’t need a lot of things, since he had a cave close to New York. He’d do his job and go there, lay low for a little while, maybe until the next time Thor had a job for him. That cave was as good as any of the ones he’d found and furnished over the years. Maybe he and Thor could even see each other this time, if Thor was in the city.
Tryg grinned when his phone rang and he saw Thor’s name flash on the display. “I knew you missed me,” he said as he answered.
“Missed you? Nope. I’m calling about the job.”
“No, you’re not.” They never talked about the job on the phone. Phone calls could be intercepted a lot more easily than encrypted communications between two secure email accounts. “What’s up? Are you in the city? We can go get a coffee.”
“Not this time. I’m…elsewhere.”
Tryg sighed. “Of course you are. We’ve been friends for how long? And we never manage to be in the same city long enough to see each other.”
“I think the last time was in the eighties? Right?”
“That’s thirty years too long, Thor.”
“I agree, but what can we do? Are you going to retire? Because I’m not.”